Fear of Foreigners: HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay, and residence

J Int AIDS Soc. 2008 Dec 16;11:8. doi: 10.1186/1758-2652-11-8.


Among the earliest and the most enduring responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been the imposition by governments of entry, stay, and residence restrictions for non-nationals living with HIV and AIDS. Sixty-six of the 186 countries in the world for which data are available currently have some form of restriction in place. Although international human rights law allows for discrimination in the face of public health considerations, such discrimination must be the least intrusive measure required to effectively address the public health concern. HIV-related travel restrictions, by contrast, not only do not protect public health, but result in deleterious effects both at the societal level - negatively impacting HIV prevention and treatment efforts - and at the individual level, affecting, in particular, labor migrants, refugee candidates, students, and short-term travelers. Governments should repeal these laws and policies, and instead devote legislative attention and national resources to comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment programmes serving citizens and non-citizens alike.